30 May 09 - Vancouver, Canada
My feet ache! After trudging around Vancouver's SOMA, Commercial Drive and Downtown districts for almost twelve hours, I was still unable to find a dress for the A-Team's wedding. I know Tim loved every minute of it (or not). There were some amazing dresses, but none matching the specified colour theme. But I will keep trying, Aly!
So, Vancouver. A strange blend of the wacky, the wonderful and the downright scary!
Exhibit 1: four pirate-clad friends taking a bike ride through one of Vancouver's busiest streets.
Exhibit 2: a tuxedo-wearing gentleman and his gorgeous diamond-studded lady huddled amongst the riff-raff on a busy afternoon train, undoubtedly going somewhere fabulous.
Exhibit 3: the crack heads of Gastown lining up with their bags of recyclables waiting to make a quick buck to pay for another hit. Ewww! More on them later.
Flying over the Rockies into Vancouver yesterday afternoon was another breathtaking experience. So close, yet again, to snow, but unable to touch it. Maybe one day. Possibly in Nepal?
After dumping our ever-expanding backpacks (partly to blame were the cheap bottles of booze from Mexico), we acquainted ourselves with Downtown, the hub of the city. It's a very busy city, reminding me a lot of Sydney minus the (sometimes) pretentious and rude (or maybe just busy) people that live there (excluding Kat and Jimmy of course!). But what makes Vancouver so awesome is that you can plan a half day ski trip in the morning and then be back in the afternoon to enjoy some beach time. Incredible!
Before our shopping expedition we walked through the historic neighbourhood of Gastown, which is like old England on the eye full of cafes and little stores, but with a strange mix of drug addicts on every corner. I have never seen anything like it in my life! They looked like the shells of former people with their sunken cheeks and grey-tinged, scabby skin. It was really horrific and sad. That being said, I didn't feel threatened once and in fact, one of them was more than happy to approach us to ask whether we needed directions. The ice epidemic is well and truly in force here.
We took a stroll to the waterfront at Canada Place, the port for all the major cruise liners and marveled at the beautiful snowcapped mountains in the background. And, being slightly obsessed with markets myself, we headed to the Chinatown Night Market which was unusual but vibrant and great smelling/tasting all the same. We just love cheap, market food. FOOD!
We finished our first day in Vancouver by heading to the old theatre on Granville Street to catch a flick - Limelyfe. Interesting. Another one of those thought-provoking 'life' stories that makes you realise that lurking beneath the guise of every normal person is a dysfunctional little creature. On a side note, there really is something magical about old movie theatres.
As noted above, today was a busy shopping day, but without the shopping. Nonetheless, it was a great way to see what Vancouver has to offer and you could easily spend your life savings scouting around the high-end boutiques which line Downtown's streets to the cute Indie stores which are dotted around Main Street in SOMA.
1. There is a sushi bar on almost every corner. And it's CHEAP! Like, really cheap! Eating on a budget has never been so good!
2.Australia cannot even begin to imagine what an ice epidemic is. Come to Vancouver to see the full extent of it. It's hung out for every Tom, Dick and Harry to see!
3.Oh - we retrieved our photos off the laptop…but the laptop is dead. Another chunk of our budget was spent on buying a new one…and for retrieving photos off our hard drive. How can a place charge $80 to plug in our external hard drive and copy our photos for us? Rip-off merchants!
4.I am SO sick of all my clothes;
5.I am officially in love with hard covered classic novels. They will fit well in my library (one day);
6.I am over CONSTRUCTION in the cities we visit. It seems every place we visit has some construction going on, which kind of affects the quality of good pics! Although, we can forgive Vancouver for its main shopping mall being in shambles as the winter Olympics are coming to town in 2010! Yippee!.